tishaturk: (professional geek)
I know I normally use this account to post about research-y things, and I do actually have things to post about that! But this post is about the students in my fandom class, because they are hi-larious.

1) Earlier this week one of them said she'd been posting things I say in class to her Facebook page. Another one said "We should make a Google Doc!" They now have a shared Google Doc that they are using to compile things I say in class. They have even shared the link with me. Thus far I have been afraid to look.

2) When I posted about the Google Doc on Facebook, more than one alum commented to let me know that they did the same thing (though not on Google Docs). One of them even provided some of the quotes... from Fall 2008. WHAT.

3) One of this semester's assignments in the fandom class is to contribute to Fanlore. It's turning out to be a good assignment, generally speaking, though it has had some... unintended consequences. I suppose I should have anticipated that they would figure out how to make a Fanlore page about me. I need to go in and fix parts of it, but I am too busy crying with laughter.
tishaturk: (professional geek)
So I was wandering around Tumblr avoiding the essay I'm supposed to be finishing, as one does, and I happened upon a photo of the required readings for a class. And then I said, Hey, that's my class.

Fourth wall, we hardly knew ye.

(Obviously this sort of thing goes on all the time and has for years. It just hasn't usually involved my classes in places where I can see it, is what I'm saying.)
tishaturk: (Default)
I try to keep this journal focused on research-related stuff rather than teaching stories, but I think that once you read this story you will see why I am making an exception.

So last week in Fan Cultures & Fan Creativity we were talking about representations of fandom—we had groups looking at posts from [community profile] as_others_see_us and OTW’s news of note—and Orlando Jones came up in conversation, as he is wont to do.

One of my students decided to tweet him to let him know, and despite our classroom’s crappy WiFi, she prevailed! And then this happened:



WHUT.

But then she didn’t get a response! So today in class she tried again. I cannot adequately describe the hilarity of this scene—she's composing away on her laptop, reading out her hashtags as she types them, and everyone in the room is exhorting her "COME ON COME ON" "OMG" "HAS HE RESPONDED YET"...



#wecanthandlethis is a pretty accurate description of class at that point; we were essentially having a 25-person meltdown. There was actualfax shrieking, some of it from me. The collective sleep deprivation did not help (Dear students: GET SOME SLEEP), but I suspect that even if we’d all been well-rested we would have been LOSING OUR MINDS. And then, as we were sitting there, he favorited the tweet. At which point I dismissed class, because I could not top that. We were done.

BEST LAST CLASS EVER.

Of course I had to post.



And he favorited that tweet too. BRB DYING.

AND THEN when I logged into Tumblr I found that another one of my students had followed up on Tumblr:



Her tags: #I didn't make any shrill noises when I got this notification #oh no #not at all #orlando jones is my favorite

I just. I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO CAN, as the kids say these days. I still don't have the faintest idea how he found out about the class, but I do not fucking care, because this is the most surreal and hilarious thing that has happened to me in I don't know how long, and I LOVE IT. And the class was in absolute hysterics. AS YOU CAN PERHAPS IMAGINE.

I fucking love my job. BEST STUDENTS EVER. Also, ORLANDO JONES GETS HIS OWN TAG.
tishaturk: (professional geek)
I am super-embarrassed about the fact that I haven't responded to most of the comments on my last entry from over a month ago. *facepalm* The new semester is settling down now, so I should have a chance to get back to that... any day now...

Speaking of teaching: I'm teaching a class about fandom this semester! And it occurred to me that some of you might be interested in seeing what that class will entail (besides lots of classroom discussion, which sadly I cannot reproduce for you but which has thus far been pretty energetic and occasionally hilarious).

Syllabus: Fan Cultures and Fan Creativity

The class is exclusively for first-year students as part of UMM's Intellectual Community program, our version of the first-year seminar program that's common at many small liberal arts colleges. I have a really delightful group; as with any class, especially of first-year students, I have a mix of students who are reallyexcitedtotalkaboutthisstuffomg!, students who are visibly engaged but not as comfortable diving into the flow of discussion, and students who are clearly wishing that they could write down their thoughts and review them once or twice before hitting post. (Having been in the latter category for most of my college career, I empathize.) But we're working up to the first writing assignment, which I hope will give some of the hard-core introverts a better opportunity to show what they can do.

Thanks to everybody who suggested assignments, activities, and readings; I was unable to implement all the terrific ideas that people shared with me, largely because needing to stay focused on the book means I have to limit the number of things that require a lot of behind-the-scenes work for me. But I already have a list of things I want to do or try when teaching the course next time, and I welcome further input and suggestions!
tishaturk: (professional geek)
I'm in the Remixing (Techno)Feminist Pedagogies half-day workshop at C&W 2010 (where I'll be presenting on vids and vidding tomorrow, woo-hoo!), having just participated in a breakout session on using technology to foster collaboration in the classroom.

In the wake of this morning's session on Twitter, I'm thinking a lot about using Twitter in next semester's FYC class, and possibly other classes as well. (I've also got a post brewing about Twitter vs. Facebook and why I think that, despite having resisted Twitter for years, I'm going to prefer it to Facebook; more on that later.) The most immediate uses I can think of have to do with collaborative research processes, so part of what I'm thinking about is how to build up to that—how to scaffold the tech use. One idea: having students tweet discussion topics or questions before class rather than going over them in class; this way we all get to see them ahead of time. (I've used a version of this idea successfully in seminar in past years, so this would just be a new platform.) I like the way this strategy helps decentralize the classroom and rewards students who prefer to contribute textually rather than orally.

We also talked about hooking these micro-posts to longer-form writing, possibly through blog posts (I got to plug Dreamwidth!).

Really, though, we spent less time talking about tech than talking about what our starting points need to be. What do students already know? What don't they know? What do we assume they know that they might not? What platforms and tech are students actually using? What activities and discussions do we need to build into the syllabus to faciliate students' use of any of the various tech options? We talked about how we might need to start by helping students learn to read these sites: rhetorically, what are the differences among self-representation on (for example) Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace?

Pam Takayoshi brought us back to the question of relationships: how do we foster students' relationships with each other and with us as instructors? Wendy Anderson suggested a great first assignment—a questionnaire filled out and submitted online—that introduces students to Blackboard but also lets her start to get to know them in ways that foster not only individual teacher/student relationships but also a better classroom dynamic.

For me, the takeaway points were that 1) flexibility is key: students have to be able to fulfill assignments in multiple ways; we have to have a backup plan in case the system goes down, in case students' primary online access is via phones rather than computers, etc.; 2) we need to stay focused on the learning goal, not the technology—which sounds obvious, but in the excitement of Shiny Tech Toys, it can be easy to let the tech drive our pedagogy, and ultimately that doesn't end well.

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Tisha Turk

November 2016

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